Get to know the first president de La Salle, as the University searches for its next

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Who was Brother Teliow Fackeldey, FSC?

In June, La Salle University installed Tim O’Shaughnessy, ’85, as interim president, on appointment by the University’s Board of Trustees. A national search is underway for the next president of La Salle University, the 30th in the institution’s nearly 160-year history.

This seems to be the most appropriate time to reflect on the first President of La Salle — Brother Teliow Fackeldey, FSC.

who was he? What do we know about him?

Well, the University’s presidential medal recognizing exceptional integrity, merit and public service – considered one of La Salle’s highest honors – bears Fr. The name of Teliow. The same goes for a presidential conference room located in College Hall, where a portrait of Fr. Teliow adorns a wall outside the president’s office.

Bro. Teliow maintained a critically important role in the establishment of La Salle College, which received its charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1863.

Born in Prussia, Br. Teliow arrived in the United States at the age of 21. He worked in Wisconsin and Iowa before deciding to join the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Historical accounts show that he showed great promise as a teacher. It was not long before he was hired for school administration duties – he first ran St. Mary’s School in Detroit in 1852 before moving in 1854 to Philadelphia, where he would run St. . Peter’s.

Bro. Teliow’s experience in the successful management of Christian Brothers schools led the Bishop of Philadelphia James Frederick Wood to contact him regarding an existing gap in Catholic higher education in Philadelphia. Two predecessors of La Salle College had ceased their activities in the city due to the ongoing American Civil War. At the time of Bishop Wood’s meeting with Br. Teliow, Catholic men made up about one in six Philadelphia residents. The market was plentiful for such a higher education institution.

In essence, this recommendation from an informal conversation gave birth to La Salle University.

Following this meeting, Br. Teliow quickly set to work to carry out Bishop Wood’s mission, the same mission on which La Salle was founded: to develop “a college within the city limits of Philadelphia in which the elementary branches are to be taught. of education, as well as modern and ancient sciences and languages.

Image of Brother Teliow Fackeldey, 1863, La Salle University Archives.
Brother Teliow Fackeldey, FSC., 1863,
La Salle University Archives.

Bro. Teliow and the Christian Brothers first laid the foundations of La Salle College by creating what was then called the Lycée des Frères Chrétiens. (Today it is known as La Salle College High School, in Wyndmoor, Pa.) A year later, in 1863, La Salle College was born. The Charter of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for La Salle College brought to life Bishop Wood’s vision for a Catholic college in Philadelphia. He also brought great visibility to fr. Teliow, who won the admiration of others. In January 1864, less than nine months after La Salle College received its charter, Br. Teliow was gone.

“A talented man, the services of Brother Teliow had been requested by the Society for the Protection of Needy Roman Catholic Children, whose president, L. Silliman Ives, addressed himself directly to the Superior General of the Christian Brothers so that Brother Teliow could be affected. reads a passage from the 1966 book “Conceived in Crisis: A History of La Salle College”. “Ives’ request was granted on December 1, 1863, and La Salle College lost a co-founder and its first president.”

Brother Oliver Daly, FSC, replaced Brother. Teliow in January 1864 and, perhaps most notably, was commissioned to help install La Salle’s first board of directors.

While it was common at the time for the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools to issue reassignments with little notice, the administrative decision led to La Salle’s second shortest presidential term in history. The brevity of Br. Teliow’s presidency follows that of one brother Dominic Luke Doyle, FSC, who took office in the late summer of 1945 and, before the end of the calendar year, was replaced by the 22nd president de La Salle, Brother Gregorian Paul Sprissler, FSC.

So much has changed since La Salle first received his charter from Pennsylvania. For example, La Salle changed campus locations twice before arriving in Northwest Philadelphia and relocating to its current 133-acre campus near 20th and Olney in historic Belfield. And in 2015, the installation of Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D., as President of La Salle marked the first woman to hold the University’s most senior administrative position. Just in May, more than 3,100 students celebrated their De La Salle graduation during the University’s debut exercises.

None of this would have been possible without Br. Teliow.

—Christophe A. Vito


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